Nap rooms, phone booths and designated work desks – the best of Penang’s co-working spaces often boast all three, usually with a café to boot.
Thanks to Penang’s growing community of entrepreneurs and digital nomads, new spaces have sprouted up all around the state to offer non-office workers a new working home. In the vein of co-working trends set by Kuala Lumpur and other cities, these hotspots are typically supported by a robust creative community and lots of caffeine.
Supported by the Penang State Government, @CAT has a well-established presence in the local startup and freelance community. The space is enormous, with open working desks and lockers, as well as event rooms and a help-yourself kitchen. @CAT also hosts workshops and seminars geared towards startup businesses and tech education (Ruby and Python, anyone?).
Don’t underestimate this newcomer to Penang. Common Ground has a uniquely international reach, with branches in the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia (up to 11 branches in Kuala Lumpur). The decor is homely yet contemporary, and the work desks are ‘individual,’ which means there are no excessively long desks where your working neighbours can peek at every website you’re looking up on the world wide web.
If you like nap time, table tennis and a panoramic view of Weld Quay, this is the place for you. This creative, laid-back space is a popular hub for young creatives and students who like their work and leisure in equal measures – and thanks to a nap room, comfy lounge and table tennis area, they can do that without anyone batting an eye. Students and social enterprises enjoy special rates.
This vibrant, contemporary space could be your new working home. The space is generous and comfortable, offers ‘fat-pipe Wi-Fi,’ and lets you unwind in a game room (yes, you read that right). It is also located inside Prangin Mall, which means that putera and puteri lilins (people wary of sunlight) won’t need to sweat it out under the Malaysian sun if they need to pop out for a bit of local kuih (cake). We like.
If you prefer foosball to table tennis, and you like beanbags as much as standing desks, Settlements is the space to hit. The open-plan layout tends to be particularly conducive to group work and professional collaboration, and you can easily slip between work and leisure. The latter involves a ‘green’ chill-out area with rattan chairs, a hammock, and multiple pots of lush vegetation.
Are you a startup business looking for a new home? This sleek, minimalist space champions all that is modern and mainland, thanks to its strategic location in Icon City, Bukit Mertajam. Private office rooms offer individual tables and ergonomic armchairs for up to six people per room.
If you have to be self-employed, why not do it with other people? ‘Bersama-sama’ means ‘together,’ and together is how they do it here. Located across the Sunway Carnival Mall, Bersama-sama offers a comfortable work space, community events like ‘nasi lemak networking’ and a prayer room. Free day passes are available by signing up on their website.
With a full-menu on-site café, this space successfully blends the casual coziness of a café with the bustle of digital nomads. Personal lockers, high-speed Wi-Fi and free drinking water are par for the course, but it’s the easy spaciousness that wins many Penangites over. Day passes start from RM 25 (USD $6).
Looking for a sleek, elegant office space? Regus is a heavy-hitter in the flexible workspace industry, with over 3,000 locations in more than 100 countries. Its branch in Penang doesn’t disappoint – it is modern, comfortable, with lots of natural light, and available at different price points for a range of SMEs and enterprises.
The first co-working space in Butterworth, this simple, wallet-friendly space is big on events, including tequila tasting get-togethers and workshops for venture capitalists. Looking to network with professionals, freelancers and in-betweens? The one-day pass starts at RM 25 (USD $6).